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and of others that they shall utterly perish in their own corruption'? Finally, does not St. John say of those who worship the beast and his image, that
the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever Rev. vie. 11. and ever’; and of certain sinners that they shall Rev. xxi. 8. have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death??
Now, it is not to be denied, that between the passages previously cited and those just adduced, there does seem to be a considerable discrepancy. Obviously, therefore, no discussion of the subject in hand could be deemed satisfactory, which did not take account of the one set of quotations as well as of the other. Moreover, seeing that the latter no less than the former are inspired utterances, they demand from us an equally reverent and candid consideration. And this in due course they shall receive. It is not, therefore, as ignoring such passages or seeking to evade them, on the contrary, it is in the full view of them, that I adhere to the position already laid down. Not only, I submit, is it a matter of legitimate inference from Holy Writ, but of distinct and emphatic statement in it, that the redemptive work and mediatorial reign of the God Man shall culminate in the complete triumph of good over evil, by the reconciliation and subjection of all things to God.
THE COMPLETE AND UNIVERSAL TRIUMPH OF
Luke xix. 10.
Two great kingdoms are set before us in the Holy Scripture ; and these as arrayed the one against the other in unceasing antagonism. The two kingdoms are that of Christ, as a power of good, and that of Satan, as a power of evil. The grand object in contention between these two kingdoms is the soul of man; the one being a spiritual force for its redemption from evil, the other a spiritual force for its retention in evil. Of the Head of the first kingdom it is said that He came to seek and to save that which had been lost' (tò åmowlós); the head of the second is described as a roaring lion that walketh about seeking whom he may devour' (karamin).
And what, may we expect, will be the final issue of the contest between these two kingdoms ? Surely, it will not, it cannot be, what virtually so many make it to be, a sort of drawn battle or divided victory. For a divided victory, I contend, it would be, if at the last the devil is to succeed in effecting the endless and irremediable perdition of any of them whom Christ came to seek and to save. If, in the end, the trophies of satanic might and malig
1 Pet. v. 8.
nity be in any proportion to those of redemptive grace and power, would not such result of the conflict be a drawn battle? The Son of God, we 1 John iii. 8. are told, was manifested that He might bring to nought the works of the devil. But if the contest is to terminate in any portion of the souls which God made, and which Christ died to redeem from iniquity, being retained under the power of evil and its consequent misery, then that purpose will not have been accomplished, and those works will not have been brought to nought; then, so far as these lost souls are concerned, the devil will have triumphed, and to that extent at least the Lord of Life, as the Ruler of the one kingdom, will have sustained a defeat at the hands of Apollyon, the ruler of the other kingdom.
Nor would it be any true answer, in reply to this, to say that by the crushing down into everlasting perdition of Satan and his adherents, the victory would still be really Christ's. That, indeed, might be a conquest of superior physical might, but not of moral force. It would be no triumph of good over evil, no victory as the Saviour King. So far from being a defeat of the devil, it would rather be the very realisation, in some measure at least, of his object and end. But not such the result, which the inspired writers anticipate and predict, of the conflict between the Son of Man and the kingdom of evil. On the contrary, they tell us that the issue of it will be the bending in his name of every knee, and the confessing by every tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,
1 John iv. 14.
Apart, however, from any direct and immediate testimony to that effect, the antecedent probabilities of the case alone warrant the presumption of the perfect victory of divine grace and power over satanic might and malice. The idea of failure or defeat seems simply inadmissible, in view of the person and work of the Redeemer, of the purpose of his incarnation, of his investiture with supreme and universal dominion, and of the declared end and design of his exaltation. Even though we had not been expressly told it, the anticipation of the ultimate rescue of the human race from the
power of evil would spring naturally and directly out of this fact alone, that the Father sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.'
And if, when viewed in relation to the Saviour Himself, the perfect success of his mission is a priori to be assumed, still stronger does the presumption become when considered in relation to the objects of that mission. For ponder the facts of the
By no impulse of his own will, by no act of his own, each human being comes into existence, and that not an ephemeral one, but one of endless duration. Over this existence he has no power, to shorten or to terminate it; whether he will or no, he must live on, for what we call death does in no wise curtail existence. Again, by no fault of his own, each human being brings with him into existence a nature predisposed to sin, with animal appetites and passions continually provocative to evil, tainted moral affections, a vitiated and perverted will. This depraved constitution he is born with, it is transmitted from father to son, being the fatal
inheritance of the children of men, as descendants of their fallen ancestor, the first man. Further, during the whole period of his present life, from his birth into this world to his departure out of it by death, he is beset by manifold inducements to evil from without, by worldly allurements acting upon and fitting in with his inner propensities, and by satanic temptations craftily adapted and incessantly applied to a corrupt nature. As a natural and necessary consequence of their being so constituted and so circumstanced, misery in manifold forms attends the children of men; a misery that cannot but be perpetual unless the evil of their nature can be cured in its root and core, unless the will and the affections can be reclaimed to good, unless in their whole complex being of body, soul, and spirit, they can be regenerated and transformed. But it is not in man to effect this cure. Left to himself he neither ever would nor could accomplish it. Therefore has it been divinely undertaken and provided for, by the introduction of that economy of grace which is called the kingdom of heaven. And this, as in all respects it is complete and adequate for the recovery of man from sin and ruin, so, as we have seen, it contemplates nothing short of this—the reconciliation and subjection of all things to God.
Here, then, let us pause for a moment to consider the probabilities or the improbabilities of the case, as they arise out of the facts just stated. Is it a priori probable, or rather do we not instinctively feel it to be most improbable, that born as human beings are into the world with a nature prone to evil, and throughout their life on earth subjected to constant